One of the keys for family connection that builds a sense of togetherness is TALK, simple on its face, but complex in its execution. Our challenge as parents and grand parents is establishing a culture of communication that builds and encourages open communication and togetherness. We desire to be together but pools of pain within, unsolved issues, and poor communication habits can rob us of what we truly desire.
The kids that helped coin the five “Ts” at our family camp wanted to talk deeply, transparently and on an emotional level with their parents which was something their parents neither believed nor understood coming into the week. Many adults did not have open and emotional conversation with their parents, which was the case with this family setting them up to miss having a deeper connection with their own kids. Read More →
Time is a tricky topic today especially for parents of older kids. It’s tricky for a number of reasons:
- Our busy lives and schedules
- The financial pressures many families face today
- The sense that our kids want to spend little to no time with us as they get older
Recently a family that came to the pilot of Revive’s family camp was surprised by the desire their kids ages 17 to 22 had to spend time with them. Even their college graduate expressed a sadness that now that the family was working on the family dynamics she regretted she was heading off to a full time job in another city because she desired time with the entire family.
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The Vital Nature of Transparency
The family that came for Revive’s family camp could not have anticipated the change that would begin with just one week of time, fun and transparency. The importance of transparency cannot be overstated when it comes to family connection and togetherness.
Transparency is a delicate topic and can strike fear into the hearts of adults. Yet it is vital and must be encouraged, guarded and protected within our homes. For me becoming transparent required pursuing healing in my own heart because prior to this to there were just too many sensitive spots that led to pain that people could trigger in me without meaning anything. I had a strong sense that I needed to protect myself, which of course meant I could share little or nothing about my real life, thoughts or feelings. Unfortunately this is the position I find far too many kids in today with their parents and siblings.
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At times it is hard for parents to believe that their kids desire to be close to them and each other given the behaviors and attitudes they observe in their homes.
Recently I had the pleasure of having a family come for Revive Family’s, Family Camp. During a week filled with fun, tears and laughter, the three kids shared like never before with their parents each echoing the desires for their families so many kids have shared with me. These desires were music to their parents’ ears once they came to understand and believe their kids’ perspectives.
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Once a year during the summer my grandma takes us kids for a week. She started this when I was very little and we have been doing it every year since. We spend a week at her house doing fun activities along with, games, movie nights, crafts and one or two projects on her house. This gives my parents a much needed break and time to relax while us kids get to have new and wonderful experiences with Gram!
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On its surface the statement “you need to earn my trust” is believed and considered sound. But how does it work in practicality?
I subscribed to this philosophy in all my relationships, including those with my kids. Then I sat and talked with over 3,000 kids and began to understand their point of view. Through my research and coaching of parents and adolescents I found that the phrase “you need to earn my trust” was negatively impacting the parent child relationship. Read More →
One of the reasons our kids’ emotions can be often set off like fireworks stems from an inability to discern their feelings. This inability is something I see a great deal in coaching and see also an area where we as parents can come along side our kids to help them comprehend and guide there emotions.
When strong emotions hit that are not identified and communicated, kids quickly learn to cope by shutting them down or venting in anger. As I talk with them, they are unable to tell me what feelings they were experiencing when specific events occurred. They tend to answer, “it does not matter” (then shutdown) or “I was angry.”
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Nine out of ten kids, whom I have had the privilege of coaching, feared or were hesitant on sharing their feelings or attempting to bring up issues/hurts with their parents. This inability to address feelings, hurts, and issues contributed heavily to their hiding out in their rooms and also their explosiveness with their parents, as they grew older. Read More →
Unresolved issues are one of the leading factors that cause kids to react like the 4th of July; a period of calm is followed by a spectacular reaction triggered by what seems to be very small sparks.
When we see such explosive behavior in our kids, it is natural for us to think that they are just trying to get their way. What about our kids are doing something they should not be doing or are being ridiculous because what was said or done is so minor in comparison to their response?
After 12 years of talking with kids about their lives, decisions and direction, one thing is crystal clear. The vast majority of kids fear bringing up their frustrations, issues or hurts with their parents. They are convinced their parents will be defensive, overreact or dismiss their perspective altogether.
As a result many kids carry with in them a growing list of issues/hurts with their parents. As they hold this hurt within, each area of hurt develops into figurative fireworks just waiting to be ignited. When our kids are in this position, it does not take much to light their fuse. Read More →
Kids emotions are even more confusing as they approach and enter the changes of the adolescent brain. By age nine many of our kids will be in the midst of this. We as parents, thankfully, are able to help them navigate through this challenging change.
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